Monday, May 20, 2013
Video Game Addiction: Real Worlds and Fictional Rules
According to Juul, a video game is based on real rules and fictional worlds. I see this as very true. However, as with all things, there is a psychological component that leads to a deep love of games. Video games are a way of escaping the reality that many face. In psychology, we learn that a reward/punishment system is present in most all stimuli. I focused on this for the past week. Playing games, it is easy to see the addictive component that many are starting to face. I decided to play a game as long as I could, with no breaks. Clearing my schedule, turning my phone off,and covering the windows of my apartment, I turned on Mass Effect. I started with the first one, with a study on video game addiction called "A Qualitative Analysis of Online Gaming Addicts in Treatment" in mind, I started playing. With no idea of the time, I simply played. As soon as I beat the first one (DLC's included), I popped in Mass Effect 2.
Being a much longer game, I started to feel time's effect. I ignored this and kept playing. After beating that one, I put Mass Effect 3 in.
Again, much longer game. This time, however, I felt no time had passed. I lost myself in the story and game play. I began to see the Reaper invasion as something real, and was even afraid for Earth's safety a few times. After beating that one, I turned my phone back on and uncovered my windows. With 39 texts, 23 missed calls, and 4 voicemails from a very pissed off mother, I realized I had been there for two days, simply playing Mass Effect. This seems hardcore, but I realize that this was an example of addiction. I kept feeling the draw to play the Assassin's Creed series, another favorite. I resisted and went outside to read for a while. To me, video games are not bad things, but as with all things there is such thing as too much of a good thing. I began to realize that I had reversed the rules of games. I had seen the Mass Effect universe as real and the rules of my world fake. After this unofficial study, I now see where video game addiction can be a very real thing and how understudied it truly is.